Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly Column:Weather’s just right for running and biking

 This week's column focuses on some great outdoor running & biking events in Lee County, and announces the upcoming JetBlue Park event, encouraging everyone to bike to the event.

Florida Weekly, Feb. 1, 2012
What a day for a bike ride. To say the weather totally cooperated for this year’s Tour de Cape would be an understatement. Not only was the sun shining and temperature perfect — cool to start and mid- 70s by the time cyclists began returning to Cape Harbour – but, for once in my memory, the wind was minimal, at least by Cape standards. And there were plenty of smiling faces among the 700-plus participants who reinforced just how nice things were. Thanks to Cape Coral Parks and Rec staff and all the volunteers who, along with the great weather, ensured success.

The reports I’ve received about early January’s River, Roots, and Ruts Half Marathon, run on the challenging foot and mountain bike trails of Caloosahatchee Regional Park, all confirm a similar situation that day: What a day for a trail run. Steve Brookman, the event’s founder and main force, and the entire team of Lee County Parks and Rec staff, Fort Myers Track Club finish line scorers and workers, Mudcutter bike club course personnel, and the rest of the many volunteers involved did another fantastic job of organizing and managing what I’d consider a classic race. For those who’ve run it before and others who haven’t had the “pleasure” but would like to, I’d suggest you keep a sharp eye open for an announcement of registration opening for the 2013 RRR. I mention that because it’ll be the 10th anniversary of River, Roots, and Ruts, which will likely mean a faster than usual sellout of the 350 available slots. But you needn’t wait until next January to experience the excellent running and mountain biking at CRP because the park is open year-round.

Those were in the past, but four more excellent events are happening soon, two having many years of history, the others not quite as established but just as popular. First up is the time-honored Edison Fest 5K (, an evening race that’s taken place for decades now and immediately precedes the Grand Parade on Saturday, Feb. 18, attracting well over 1,000 participants who run in front of the thousands of spectators awaiting the parade. Then, on Sunday, March 4, there’s a dilemma for those who enjoy cycling and running long distances: You’ll have to choose between what’s quickly becoming a classic, the Hooters-to-Hooters Half Marathon (, celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, and the 14th annual Royal Palm Classic (, another local tradition, staged out of Buckingham Park, with bike rides of 15, 30, 62, and 100 miles. Finally, our own one-of-a-kind challenge, American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb ( fort-myers-climb-fy12/), takes place for its third year in the stairwells of 32-story High Point Place condo on the river in downtown Fort Myers.

All the events raise money for worthy causes, so support them and challenge yourself at the same time. And if you’re not sure you’re ready yet and want to check out any of the events first, volunteering is a great way to do so and is always needed and appreciated.

Special event announcement
On Saturday, Feb. 25, a week before the home opener of 2012 Grapefruit League spring training season, a kick-off event will take place at the new home of Red Sox spring training, JetBlue Park at Fenway South. As a way to encourage folks to get out of their cars, thus saving the hassle and cost of finding limited parking, BikeWalkLee is coordinating an effort to ride bikes there instead. The Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization has produced maps and route suggestions that BWL is using to help get the word out through various means (blog, website, newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, etc; you’ve probably learned about it through one or another of these media by the time you’re reading this). Additionally, BWL is managing a bike corral where event goers can conveniently and securely park. There’s no charge for a service that will hopefully become a staple at Fenway South. If you’re interested in helping staff the corral, contact me or BWL at

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.

Upcoming events
Running/Walking:  Edison Fest 5K, Saturday, Feb. 18, downtown Fort Myers  Hooters Half Marathon, Sunday, March 4, Fort Myers Hooters at Edison Mall For more Lee County running events, visit Fort Myers Track Club ( and 3-D Racing ( For Naples/ Collier running info, it’s the Gulf Coast Runners ( Charlotte County running information is at Walkers can visit Cycling & Other Events:  Royal Palm Ride, Sunday, March 4, Buckingham Park  Fight for Air Climb, Saturday, April 28, High Point Place, downtown Fort Myers Visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club,; Florida Mudcutters; Naples Pathways Coalition; Naples Velo,; Peace River Riders,; and Coastal Cruisers Bicycle Club, for more information on local bicycling activities, including weekly rides. The Florida Bicycle Association is your source for statewide happenings.

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